Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Make a list



Movers will be here to pack up our house in about 16 days.  16 DAYS!  Given that realization, yesterday I decided it was time to start making lists in an attempt to make this move organized.  Forgive the poor handwriting, it never was a strong point of mine.  I have a feeling there will be lots of additions to this list as I start to cross tasks off.  It's a great starting point though.  There is the usual tasks of cancel this, schedule that, pick up Dr. records, pet records. 

On our last two moves we packed one single container of kitchen essentials.  We don't always know how long we'll be waiting for our household good to arrive so it's nice to have a few pots and pans to make a home cooked meal.

The first time we moved to Arizona we pulled our second car on a trailer and filled the car with as much of our essentials as we could fit. (*Side note - our two big dogs fill up the back of our SUV so we can't pack anything in there.) On the way back to the east coast we rented a U-Haul trailer and filled that with our essentials.  This time we got smart and bought our own trailer!  We can fit one set of mattress and box springs and maybe even a couch!  We have air mattresses (as does probably every military family I know) but a real mattress and a real place to sit during the day until our household goods arrive sounds fantastic!

The two lists that are pretty bare right now are the 'Food/Snacks' list and the 'In The Car' list for us and the kids.  I routinely drive 12 hours to Virginia and back with both kids and have that down pat. But at the end of one long day I arrive at my parent's or my Mother-in-law's house with extra hands, food, and anything else I might need.  This time Chris and I will be spending 4-5 days on the road with two kids, one dog, and lots of hotel rooms.  I've picked up some toys and books from the Target Bargain bins for Landon and plan to have a couple new items he can 'play' with in the car each day, plus lots and lots of DVD's.  I also have an idea of foods that have worked well for road trips before...banana bread, ham rolls, scones...and of course the typical easy toddler snacks...goldfish, bananas, raisins, vanilla wafers.

Now I have to tackle this list and plan out the actual road trip.  I'm exhausted just thinking about it.  :)  What tips have you found work for young kids on road trips?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Moving

Here we go again!

PCSing, aka moving, can be one of the more exciting and frustrating parts of military life.  The thrill of moving to a new location and a new experience met with the terror of making new friends AGAIN, moving with kids for the first time, and the logistics.  Ohhh the logistics.  I'm sure every military spouse's story is different.  I'm not sure how many end up with cross-country trips like we do but this is my experience.  

We are currently stationed at Fort Drum, NY with orders to report to Fort Huachuca, AZ.  That's about 2,500 miles.  We did this move before from Virginia to Arizona with just the two of us.  We didn't book hotels ahead of time, we just stopped and found one.  We didn't have housing planned ahead of time, we just arrived and figured it out.  This time we have two little people so we are attempting to have a plan.  We are going to Fort Huachuca for about 6 months of school and then will PCS again to a more permanent (read 2-3 years) location.

But Liz, why don't you just stay on the East coast while Chris goes to school?

While it may seem a wee bit like torture to make this move for a measly six months, school time means quality family time.  School hours are more reasonable and Chris will likely be home for dinner every night, maybe on occasion even for lunch.  Not knowing what the next job or location holds for us, this is valuable time for us as a family.

Our most immediate to-do list involves selling or renting our current home. 

Wait.  Doesn't the Army give you housing?

Yes, military posts DO have housing.  Enough for everyone stationed there?  Ha, yeah right!  When we arrived at Drum we were told it was an 8-10 month wait for on-post housing.  I was 6 months pregnant at the time and Chris was set to deploy in 3 months so I wasn't thrilled about the prospect of moving twice, the second time by myself with a newborn in the dead of Winter.  Thanks, I'll pass and get my own place.  We didn't have to buy a home but that was a choice we made.

Now onto our move to Arizona.  

They have housing available for us!

YAY!

It's the same old housing we lived in before that has swamp coolers for a/c and was supposed to be torn down by now.

BOOO!!

They ARE tearing them down in 2014 though, so we'd have to evacuate by the end of the year and possibly move twice in a 6 month time frame.

BOOO!!

But there are lots of really nice off-post rental houses in Sierra Vista!

YAY!!!

We found one that we LOVE!

YAY!!!

But the rental company won't reserve the house for us until we do a walk-through.

BOOO!!


Call me cheap (and I am) but I'm not flying out to Arizona to look at houses we will live in for less than a year.  No matter how perfect it is.  The important thing to remember is that we have choices.  It is the little things, right?  And we'll be together as a family.  That is most important of all.

I suppose if it wasn't a roller-coaster it wouldn't be an adventure now would it?  Didn't I tell you PCSing is both exciting and frustrating?  

Just another day navigating a PCS.